SKBOWE Installation Guide

SKBOWE installation has just three steps and will take about 15 minutes using the included zip-ties. If you are inclined to take a little more care and can drill and cut aluminum, it can bolt on a metal bracket inside of the wheel well for a cleaner look – these steps are listed under the ‘pro install’ headings.

Without further ado, let’s begin!

Step 1: Pull the pin

pull the pin to release the headlight
Step 1: Pull the pin.

JKJK there’ll be no hand-holding here. If you can’t figure out how to get your headlights out of a P1 car please return your SKBOWE .

Real Step 1: Mount SKBOWE

The recommended SKBOWE mounting location is behind the OEM GDL (gas discharge lamp) control module cutout, directly behind the headlight housing.

Quick Install

If you are in a rush, you can also use the included zip-ties to secure it in about 30 seconds:

SKBOWE installed with zip-ties (left)
The quick/easy/sloppy install: zip-ties (left side looking at car from front)
Quick/easy/sloppy install (right)
Quick/easy/sloppy install w/zip-ties (right side looking at car from front)

Fits like a glove! Alternately, depending on how your ballast is mounted you could shove them in the gap between the quarter panel and wheel well, and secure it with a single zip tie or industrial strength velcro (not included)

Pro Install

If you are going all out, you can make aluminum brackets that span this cutout to hold the SKBOWE, securing it with stainless screws:

 

right side skbowe bracket
Passenger-side ‘pro’ style SKBOWE install using a bracket
driver side skbowe bracket
Driver-side wheel well showing ‘pro’ style SKBOWE & Ballast mounting.

This requires removing the wheel-well liners. Access is greatly improved with jack stands and the wheels removed. The bracket should be about 5.5″ long, with the SKBOWE mounting holes on 4.5″ centers. One end has a 3/8″ hole for the bolt (on the right side, the AC line stud can be used), the other is a tab that fits between the ballast and the frame. I used M4x8 screws and tapped the aluminum, YMMV.

 

Step 2: Ground SKBOWE

The recommended grounding location is the M8x1.25 quarter-panel mounting bolt at the top of the headlight housing opening. This was painted with the car so you will need to clean it up.

This is the most important step in the install process – the grounding is what protects your WMM

You should really use a Dremel Tool with a burr or sanding disk, but I will include a small piece of sand paper in the kit for those who don’t have them. Using the sand paper will take a long time (spend 5 minutes per side)! THE METAL HAS TO BE SHINY.

Cleaning the bolt
Cleaning the paint off of the top threads and insert nut on this bolt. This is the most important step in installation.

Once the bolt is clean, route the ground strap up and around to come in from behind.

This bolt is clean. I used a diamond burr in a Dremel Tool for this side.

I will include two M8-1.25 stainless nuts with each kit. Make sure these nuts are TIGHT – 60NM if you want a number – so that the stainless will deform slightly to keep it in place. Add thread locker if you have it – but only sparingly on the threads.

tighten the nut
Tighten down the M8-1.25 nut. If you have a DMM, check the resistance between the braid and the engine block or negative on the battery. If the bolt was cleaned right, it should be < 1 ohm.

Step 3: Install the Ballast

Install the ballast and bulbs according to your manufactures instructions. You will need to drill a hole somewhere in the headlight cover for the power and HV wires, clearance with the lights installed is pretty tight so DOUBLE CHECK YOUR DRILL LOCATION TO MAKE SURE THAT THE WIRES CAN EXIT WITHOUT HITTING ANYTHING. Be sure to mount the ballast such that the connector(s) won’t collect water:

Diagram showing which way to mount ballast (this side up)
Make sure the ballast connector(s) are facing downwards (best) or sideways (ok) so that they won’t collect water.

Wiring is simple: H11 inside headlight plugs into the HID kit adapter and passes through grommet in cover. 9005/9006 connectors from Headlight -> SKBOWE -> Ballast. It only hooks up one way.

Connect the ballast and headlight

Do check to make sure the red goes to red (or +), black to black (or -), 99% of manufactures use the same configuration (as does the SKBOWE) but it never hurts to check.

Here’s a diagram if you are having trouble with my blurry iPhone pics

SKBOWE connection diagram
SKBOWE connection diagram

Morimoto Install

The basic Morimoto installation with re-based bulbs and AMP ignitors is shown in the diagram below.

Pro Install

If you want to get fancy and have the Morimoto ballasts, the “Nick-style” setup which eliminates the need for a grommet is shown below. This is exactly how the original BMW E46 Gen1 headlight assemblies were wired, with both the ignitor input and 12V output passing through the housing.

Install using morimoto ballasts 3 and 4-pin SuperSeal connectors to eliminate the need for a grommet, and allow the ignitor to easily be replaced.
Super clean “nick-style” install for Morimoto ballasts using 3 and 4-pin SuperSeal connectors and a custom harness to eliminate the need for a grommet, and allow the ignitor to easily be replaced. DO NOT USE THIS METHOD FOR BALLASTS WITH INTEGRATED IGNITORS!

Note that this only works for ballasts with detachable ignitors, since there is only 85VAC or so in the blue/green wires. Don’t even think about running the HV (20kV) next to battery voltage!

Post Installation

Testing

Start out testing by activating the headlights with the engine off just to make sure everything is hooked up right.

Activate follow me home lighting
To turn on the low beams with the engine off, depress the high-beam lever to the “lock” position. The low beams will turn on for about 2 minutes (follow me home).

If that works, button her up, do a quick FODD check, fire her up and go for a spin!

Aiming

Once everything is working, if you haven’t recently it’s a good idea to check the aim – see the Volvo P1 Headlight Aiming page for more info.

That’s all there is to it!

no bow
No “Bulb Failure” message here – must be a SBKOWE

That’s all it takes for beautiful, error-free headlights. Enjoy!

Questions? Comments? Drop me a note.